JROTC PROGRAMS CELEBRATE 10th MILITARY BALL
by Bob McParland
The JROTC programs from Richards, Shepard, and Eisenhower high schools celebrated their 10th annual Joint Military Ball in December 2017. The event seeks to emulate the traditional military dances sponsored by the U.S. armed forces. Students, many in dress uniforms, have come to treat the ball as a fall prom.
In addition to a guest speaker, the ball includes color guard, and military toasts. Instructors and students also set aside a table for POW/MIAs, another custom of American military balls. The table honors soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who have died in service to the United States.
A student reads what each item at the table symbolizes. The chair remains empty, symbolizing the absence. A single red rose displayed in a vase serves as a reminder of the life of each missing person and their loved ones who keep faith while awaiting answers. A red ribbon on the vase symbolizes the determination to account for those missing. An inverted glass represents their inability to share the evening's toast.
BLUE ISLAND LOVES SANTA
Thank you, Santa! Who would have thought a small suburb such as Blue Island would have attracted so much attention from the big man himself. Those keen on Santa’s whereabouts during this past Christmas season should have noticed Santa was in NO hurry to leave our quaint little town. For 12 days in December (not including his other Blue Island engagements) Santa Claus made himself available to all with the desire to bask in the spirit of the holiday. For 2 hour each night, Santa sat with each visitor, collected Christmas wish lists, and posed for pictures. When asked about his extended stay in Blue Island Santa Claus replied “There are far more nice children in Blue Island then last year. One day would not have been enough”. Santa made visiting simply with the help of the Blue Island Park District. Together they provided convenient visiting locations throughout Blue Island. As an added bonus, all visitors were treated with a complimentary printed photograph with Santa courtesy of State Representative Robert “Bob” Rita.
Over 450 children and their families took advantage of the Blue Island Park District’s Santa House, a "Pictures with Santa" service provided free of charge to the public. The Blue Island Park District’s Santa House is a miniaturized Christmas themed house built on a mobile platform that provides site-to-site holiday cheer during the Christmas season. To learn more about the Blue Island Park District’s Santa House or upcoming events please visit their website at www.blueislandparks.org.
A special thank you goes out to all who volunteered their time, donated supplies, and helped provide a memorable experience for so many. Thank you!
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